Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Gunday: Sub-2000 Forend Rails

This is a review of the Aluminum Forend Rails for the Kel-Tec Sub-2000.

Obligatory FTC disclaimer: Kel-Tec gave me these rails for free because I am awesome. They aren't paying me for this review (as you will see in a moment).

I've been itching to get my hands on these pretties for a while because I am a compulsive accessorizer and I love putting doodads on my guns. However, there's been a problem with that goal:   They are nearly always out of stock.

Fast forward a year, and suddenly I am a reviewer of propane and propane-related accesories firearms, accessories, and survival gear. I can now request these things for review!

Two weeks ago, my wish was granted (click through for before and after shots) and now I will give a review.

I have to be honest here, folks:  The instructions suck.  They are a poor-resolution copy (of a copy of a copy, it looks like) which makes reading them difficult. The pictures are muddy and the text is confusing at times (Example:  if the parts are numbered in the illustration, then refer to them by number rather than by name in the instructions), which means that installation is not what I would consider to be user-friendly.

I was originally going to have my mother install this product, but when I saw what I was dealing with I figured (rightly, as it turned out) that she would be unable to install this herself.  Fortunately for me, I have put together enough models and toys that I am able to figure out what goes where just from looking at the picture.

The second problem is that near the end of the installation, I was told to level the top rail before tightening it to the barrel and installing the bottom rail. Why is this a problem? Two reasons:

  1. There is no mention of requiring a level in the "Tools Needed", which is a big omission;
  2. The entire assembly free-floats. I'm no engineer, but I would think that it makes more sense to create the rail-shroud with a tongue that locks into a groove on the Sub-2000. This wouldn't make things perfectly level, mind you, but it would certainly speed things along in the same way that a laser boresight helps you get to zero faster. 
So the instructions fail. On the good side, however:
  1. The kit came with all the parts I needed, including an Allen wrench of the proper size;
  2. Once I figured out what was going on, I was able to put the forend on without muss and fuss (well, there was a bit of fussing during the leveling portion);
  3. They even included a tub of Blue Threadlocker. I don't know if they do this for all kits, or just mine because I'm special, but either way I appreciated the gesture. 
About the only caveat I have about the installation itself is that when I was securing the bottom of the forend to the top, I found that it worked best to start with the middle screw on one side, then turn it over and secure the other side, working my way outward and alternating sides. I also didn't tighten down each screw before going on to the next one; instead, i got the screws going until the threads engaged both parts and then went on to the next one. It was only after I had all the parts in, and made sure all the holes were lined up, that I went back and tightened them all. 

(The previous paragraph has probably elicited a "Well, duh" response from my more technically-inclined readers. I include it because that's not what the instructions say.)

The Product
The rails themselves are made of anodized aluminum. They are lightweight and do not seem to affect the overall balance of the carbine. I especially like the fact that the forend is open at the front and has vents along the sides -- it seems like this will help with cooling the barrel more than the traditional plastic shroud does.
I like that the product comes in both a two-rail and four-rail configuration; this allows the user to install only the rails that he or she needs. I would recommend against installing the side rails unless you really need them, and this is because -- being made of out metal -- the edges can bite uncomfortably when you grasp the forend. However, rail covers are cheap and plentiful, so that's always an option. 

Confession time: I will admit that I cannot state with absolute certainty that the rails hold zero, and this is because I do not (yet) have a scope or sight to go on them. What I can tell you is that rough handling and general shooting has not caused the rails to go out of alignment in any measurable way. When I get a proper sight for this carbine, I will definitely let you all know if the rails hold zero. Until then, I am giving Kel-Tec the benefit of the doubt, because it's not their fault I don't have a sight for the Sub-2000. 

The Verdict
Installation difficulties aside, I do recommend this product. It gives the S2K a nifty tacti-cool look, and gives the user greater flexibility of use by allowing the installation of accessories such as scopes*, lasers, flashlights, bipods, etc. 

* Naturally, any accessory mounted on the top rail will need to be removed before making use of the fold-in-half feature. Putting your optic on a quick-release rail mount should eliminate this problem before it starts.

The worst thing I can say about the aluminum forend is that it's difficult to keep in stock. Given how useful it is, I think that Kel-Tec should bundle the rail system directly with the carbine (perhaps as a "tactical option" upgrade). 

Instructions:  D
Ease of Installation: B
Utility : A
Niftiness: A

Would recommend to all Sub-200 owners


  1. Ummm...I do not mean to troll, and I hope this doesn't come off that way, but I've never understood accessorizing guns!  If it's not what I wanted, I don't buy it!  However, it is nice to hear an honest description of the accessorizing process from someone who is not a techno-maven and had to go through the process like a normal person! 

    Thank--it's informative.

  2. Thanks!

    I like putting stuff on because, truthfully, I am a compulsive accessorizer. I want to put a variable scope with quick-detach on the top rail, a flashlight on the bottom, and a laser wherever it will fit (preferably as a combo unit to scope or light). 

    To quote Jayne Cobb, "I just get exciable as to choice -- like to have my options open."  ;)

  3. Short of a PRS stock and a holographic sight on one AR, I've not done much to mine.  Thanks for an excellent write up of how it all comes together, for we "firearm fashion challeneged.


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